Far from being a time of goodwill the period before and after Christmas has often resembled “sacking season” for Premier League managers so they may be reassured that statistically they are safer in England than elsewhere.
Figures released after a study undertaken by soccer number cruncher Vyom Chaudhary for RunRepeat.com showed that of Europe’s big five leagues, managers in England’s Premier League lasted an average of 69.4 league games over the past decade.
That is more than Ligue 1 (58.2), Bundesliga (45.5), La Liga (39.6) and Serie A which offers the least job security with managerial stints barely lasting a season on average (35.1).
So far this season not one Premier League club has changed the manager -- a rare occurrence well into December.
By this time last year Watford (twice), Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Everton had all pulled the plug while in 2017-18 no fewer than five clubs had shown a manager the exit door.
Whether or not the strained circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have given club owners a more sympathetic streak remains to be seen and the coming weeks will be anxious ones for several managers in the top flight.
December is the month most likely to see a manager and club part company in the Premier League -- a situation compounded by the looming January transfer window.
Website thesackrace.com lists the Premier League managers most at risk of needing a new job and not surprisingly Sheffield United’s Chris Wilder is top of the list with his side having picked up one point from 11 matches.
“It’s not a good run, I can’t hide from that,” Wilder said ahead of Saturday’s clash with in-form Southampton.
West Bromwich Albion’s Slaven Bilic is second-favourite to go while Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta needs some results quickly after the club’s worst start to a league season since 1981.
Yet compared to the hire-and-fire culture in Italy, Premier League managers are usually given time.
The RunRepeat study found that over the past decade 44 managerial stints in Serie A lasted less than 10 games with the most common spell less than 20 games.
Over the past decade, according to the study, there have been 220 managerial stints in Serie A and 185 in La Liga compared to only 131 in the Premier League.
Since the end of last season in Serie A Juventus, Parma, Genoa and Fiorentina have all sacked their managers with Juve firing Maurizio Sarri two weeks after he won the title.
Not surprisingly a manager in a relegation battle is vulnerable, yet the jury is out on whether making a change in the midst of one, pays off.
In the Premier League, Ligue 1 and Bundesliga 51% of newly-appointed managers led their sides to safety with the success rate in Spain and Italy far worse.
“What was even more striking about Serie A was the fact that relegation-threatened clubs often make multiple managerial changes in a single season,” Chaudhary says. “Our analysis suggests that the majority of these changes end in failure.”